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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Day-by-day symptoms following positive and negative PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 in non-hospitalized healthcare workers: a 90-day follow-up study

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  • Kent J Nielsen
  • Jesper Medom Vestergaard
  • Vivi Schlünssen
  • Jens Peter Bonde
  • Kathrine Agergård Kaspersen
  • Karin Biering
  • Ole Carstensen
  • Thomas Greve
  • Karoline Kærgaard Hansen
  • Annett Dalbøge
  • Esben Meulengracht Flachs
  • Sanne Jespersen
  • Mette Lausten Hansen
  • Susan Mikkelsen
  • Marianne Kragh Thomsen
  • Jacob Dvinge Redder
  • Else Toft Würtz
  • Lars Østergaard
  • Christian Erikstrup
  • Henrik Albert Kolstad
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OBJECTIVE: Our study aimed to compare symptoms day by day for non-hospitalized individuals testing positive and negative for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

METHODS: In total, 210 positive-test and 630 negative-test healthcare workers in the Central Denmark Region were followed for up to 90 days after testing, between April and June, 2020. Their daily reported COVID-19-related symptoms were compared graphically and by logistic regression.

RESULTS: Thirty per cent of the positive-test and close to 0% of the negative-test participants reported a reduced sense of taste and smell during all 90 days (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 86.07, 95% CI 22.86-323). Dyspnea was reported by an initial 20% of positive-test participants, declining to 5% after 30 days, without ever reaching the level of the negative-test participants (aOR 6.88, 95% CI 2.41-19.63). Cough, headache, sore throat, muscle pain, and fever were temporarily more prevalent among the positive-test participants; after 30 days, no increases were seen. Women and older participants were more susceptible to long-lasting COVID-19 symptoms.

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of long-lasting reduced sense of taste and smell is highly increased in mild COVID-19 patients. This pattern is also seen for dyspnea at a low level, but not for cough, sore throat, headache, muscle pain, or fever.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases
Volume108
Pages (from-to)382-390
Number of pages9
ISSN1201-9712
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

    Research areas

  • Ageusia, Anosmia, Dyspnea, Long-haul COVID-19, Post COVID-19, Post-acute COVID-19 syndrome

ID: 66363220